SKOWHEGAN — The Somerset County Budget Committee and Board of Commissioners have approved a budget for 2024-25 that will require an overall 3.1% tax increase for county property owners.

Following a brief public hearing Wednesday night, the committee and commissioners approved the budget at a meeting that lasted about 10 minutes at the Somerset County Superior Courthouse in Skowhegan.

The 3.1% increase in taxation comes after taxpayers were hit with a 9.8% increase last year, due largely to an increase in wages and inflation in the costs of materials and services, according to County Administrator Tim Curtis.

The budget process this spring was “fairly quiet,” Curtis said ahead of the meeting.

Spending in the proposed budget totals about $11.71 million for the Somerset County Jail in Madison and $13.07 million for county operations. Services provided by the county include the Sheriff’s Office, emergency management agency, 911 communications center, registry of deeds, probate court and district attorney’s office.

Of the total spending, the amount funded by property taxes would be $15.15 million, a 3.1% increase in the amount raised through taxation last year. That figure, which factors in a 1% overlay, breaks down to $6.9 million for the jail and about $8.1 million for other county departments. The remaining spending is covered by other sources of revenue.


How residents’ tax bills across the county will be affected by the overall 3.1% increase depends on the state valuation for each community. Each town’s share of the budget is calculated based on its state valuation in relation to the total valuation of the county.

In general, larger towns in the county, including Skowhegan and Fairfield, had their valuations increase more than smaller towns, so their assessments will see a greater increase under the approved budget, Curtis said.

The approved budget accounts for the creation of new positions, including deputy directors for the emergency communications center and the emergency management agency.

It also includes an additional patrol deputy to the Sheriff’s Office, bringing the total number of patrol deputies to 17.

The only member of the public to speak at Wednesday’s public hearing, Michael Watson of Cambridge, said he appreciated the support for the additional deputy position, according to meeting minutes.

Watson asked that another patrol deputy be part of next year’s budget deliberations, which county officials have said is already planned.

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